CDC Director Robert Redfield told lawmakers Wednesday that face masks may be “the most powerful public health tool” the United States has to combat the coronavirus, CNBC reports.

  • “We have clear scientific evidence they work, and they are our best defense. I might even go so far as to say that this face mask is more guaranteed to protect me against COVID than when I take a COVID vaccine.” 

He told the U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies that the COVID-19 vaccine might only be 70% effective, meaning 30% of people could still have the virus.

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  • “If I don’t get an immune response, the vaccine’s not going to protect me. This face mask will.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have suggested people wear face masks to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

  • The coronavirus can spread when someone coughs, sneezes or talks by someone else. A mask covers your nose and mouth to stop the amount of droplets that escape.
  • Masks are especially important when you can’t be 6 feet away from someone else.
Who gets a vaccine?
  • We are not defenseless against COVID-19,” Redfield said back in July. “Cloth face coverings are one of the most powerful weapons we have to slow and stop the spread of the virus — particularly when used universally within a community setting. All Americans have a responsibility to protect themselves, their families and their communities.”